Exporting to Philippines

The Philippines has a population of 107 million people and over 7,100 islands (World Bank, 2019), offering a vast market for UK companies. It offers many export opportunities, and in the year up until March 2019 UK exports to Philippines amounted to £731 million (ONS, 2019).

Strong consumer market

Both the Philippines population and economy are growing. It also has a large number of foreign workers. These factors are helping to drive a strong consumer market, and luxury items, real estate and service consumption is growing annually. Western goods and services continue to be popular in the Philippines.

Strong UK presence

The UK was in the top 10 foreign investors in the Philippines from 2015-2018 (Philippines Statistic Authority, 2019). UK business, telecoms and financial services have a strong presence and are well recognised, whilst electrical, machinery and pharmaceutical goods (amongst a wide range of others) are the most popular goods.

The government is also actively making it easier to do business in the country to encourage new business.

Diversified Economy

Philippines is spreading government and economic activity right across its provinces to become less reliant on its capital city. Infrastructure and transport are being improved, locations to base a business are varied, industries are diverse, and growth outside of the city is encouraged.

Ease of doing business

124th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2018)

Currency

Philippine peso

Business language

Filipino, English

GDP per capita

$3103.60

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

6.2%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT + 8

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Philippines have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors

Doing business Philippines

Preparing to export

Taxation

The Philippines are taking steps to make doing business in the country easier, such as lowering corporate income tax to 20%, removing minimum capital requirements, speeding up government permits, and reducing the steps needed to operate in the country. UK and the Philippines have also signed a double taxation agreement, meaning the same income is not taxed twice.

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export, provided certain conditions are met.

Information on VAT in the Philippines can be found on Bureau of Internal Revenue

Import duties

You’ll find information about tariffs on the local Tariff Commission website.

Regulations

The Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS) is the government agency responsible for the issuance of Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certification. All imported products must have ICC certification marks issued by the BPS before being sold in the market.

Food, agricultural and pharmaceutical products have additional regulations, and you should carry out further research before exporting.

Operating in the Philippines

To do business in the country, UK companies need to obtain a licence from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You will need to register a Philippine branch office or a representative office, or incorporate a Philippine corporation.

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

The Philippines is a leading ASEAN country in protection of intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHIL) is the government agency in charge of the protection of intellectual property in the country.

Legal system

UK companies must consult with a reputable local counsel for legal advice pertaining to its investments, corporate structuring, taxes, labour laws, immigration, and intellectual property protections. Department for International Trade Philippines can assist with referrals to competent counsels.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.